Anti-intellectualism in American Life was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Non- Fiction. It is a book which throws light on many features of the American. A book which throws light on many features of the American character. Its concern is not merely to portray the scorners of intellect in American life, but to say. Richard Hofstadter’s famous Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, his tenth book, earned him the Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction (). This “personal book,”.

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Intellectuals, argues Hofstadter, iin not merely or necessarily highly educated, nor are they merely or necessarily experts. According to this conviction, positions of power presumably corrupt the intellectual more than others–you know, those regular guys at the bar.

All that might fall under the rubrik of “anti-intellectual,” but that’s putting forward an awfully narrow and conservative idea of what “intellectual” is.

Anti-intellectualism in American Life – Wikipedia

That’s why a proper approach to education and instilling critical thinking and curiosity via the education system but also via family and community is so important imo, it takes resources and a lot of trial and error, but we are going down the wrong path that is for sure.

Somebody should tell these bright young intellectuals and professors the facts of business life. Looking for More Great Reads? Every great institution is perforce a means of corruption–whatever good it may also do.

David Thoreau to Walt Whitman and the Romantics through the transcendentalist are mentioned prominently and favorably as intellectuals.

Anti-intellectualism is not only an American thing. Nov 03, Eugene rated it it was amazing.

Review: Anti-Intellectualism in American Life ()

It is aligned with creativity; even the most serious poetry must have a strong element of this, as must wit, and quite probably most high-quality writing. This is where Hofstadter ends, his book published in In one of his final chapters, Hofstadter takes on John Dewey’s philosophy of education, anatomizing his progressivism to expose its inconsistencies and subsequent distortions.

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The cultured class was out. Article PDF first page preview. Citing articles via Web of Science 1. A book which throws light on many features of the American character.

USA students usually rank below the top ten, and sometimes far below. But, again in his view, the anti-intellectual bias has produced a society that “looks upon the world as an arena for conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, and, accordingly, it scorns compromise who would compromise with Satan?

Contents Antiintellectualism in Our Time. If being an author didn’t hurt Kennedy’s election, it might well have hurt Al Gore’s status. So does Hofstadter, whose long view instructs us that, at least for professors-as-intellectuals, we’ve always been a minority game, though once in a while–the first six Presidential administrations, the tenure of both Roosevelts, Wilson, and possibly Kennedy–the life of the mind has been cherished, not scorned, by the masses. In a certain sense, the suspicious Tories and militant philistines are right: I have no idea.

It is penetratingly insightful at times, and while it does not afford much hope that the trends will stop, it does help put them into perspective.

He may also be aware that in former days–in the times, say, of Andrew Carnegie–the great business leader, despite some hostility, was a cultural-hero.

Hofstadter, as shall be seen, would explain the anger and noise in terms of his premise and the cyclical nature of the beast. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. If we wonder why Americans seem “dumber” than ever, this book offers an argument that stands up well today.

Filled with obscure and ill-directed grievances and frustrations, with elaborate hallucinations about secrets and conspiracies, groups of malcontents have found scapegoats at various times in Masons or abolitionists, Catholics, Mormons, or Jews, Negroes, or immigrants, the liquor interests or the international bankers.


In this award-winning classic work of consensus history, Richard Hofstadter, author of The Age of Reformexamines the role of social movements in the perception of intellect in American life. Really smart students aren’t a spectator sport. Presumably most American intellectuals in the young 21st century make a living in think tanks or in the groves of academe which phrase Mary McCarthy borrowed for her satiric novel.

I don’t know what it takes to rid ourselves, in public education, of the “lowest common denominator” criterion.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Intellectuals doubt their own yb and anti-intellectuals have no doubts in their own certainty. There is constant activity going on in one small portion of the brain; all the rest is stagnant. Here some notes — Anti-intellectualism in American Life This book is not a militant intellectual ranting against the conventional philistines. In this shifting context, Hofstadter found himself increasingly, and often reluctantly, drawn back into political controversy.

Each segment – from politics, religion, cultural and education — is traced with the shifting or cyclical position of intellectual life. The overarching point of the book seems to be that since its inception, America has undergone cycles of anti-intellectual sentiment.

This website uses cookies as well as similar tools and technologies to understand visitors’ experiences. By the late s, radical critics whose influence had been limited – such as Mills, with his dark warnings of a ” power elite ” – now seemed prescient, for all their apparent Manichaean bluster.

With slight modifications this book could be written today.